North Star Health to dedicate mobile unit to Dr. Barbeau

North Star Health invites the public to the dedication of its new mobile health unit, named after beloved local physician and steadfast healthcare advocate Dr. Dolores Barbeau, or “Dolor” to the people and communities who loved her, who passed away in 2021.

The dedication and ribbon-cutting will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29. The new unit will be parked in front of Neighborhood Connections, 5700 VT Route 100, Londonderry, a community-based health and human services nonprofit founded by Barbeau and Gloria Dawson in 2009.

Tours of the mobile unit will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At the same time, a flu vaccine clinic to be held inside Neighborhood Connections. Professional staff will be on hand to answer questions about Medicare, Medicaid and other health benefits and health-related financial assistance programs. Fall-themed refreshments will be available throughout the day.

Barbeau devoted her life to helping others. Born in Massachusetts and raised in upstate New York, she received her medical degree in Bolivia and spent the next 25 years of her medical practice providing care to people in Bolivia and Nicaragua. Returning to New England for further medical studies, Barbeau made her way to Vermont, calling it home for the last decades of her life. Here, she treated and advocated on behalf of the vulnerable at the Rutland Free Clinic and, later, at North Star Health’s Mountain Valley and Springfield health centers.

Barbeau was committed to reducing barriers to medical and dental care, remaining, until the end of her life, a passionate and outspoken advocate for community-based health care that met people where they were at. Famous for her “parking-lot consults” and home visits, a mobile health unit was a long-held dream of hers; she was delighted to learn that the mobile unit on order for North Star Health would pay tribute to her legacy by bearing her name.

In keeping with Barbeau’s vision and North Star Health’s commitment to improving health equity and providing care to the underserved, the mobile unit will be deployed to deliver a range of services, including vaccinations, screenings and primary care, to those for whom travel to existing clinics is a barrier.

Development and assembly of the unit, which has a fully-functioning, state-of-the-art exam and treatment table and medical equipment, was funded through a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, with support for initial program development and staffing coming from the Vermont Department of Health. North Star is currently recruiting for its Mobile Services Team, including a Community Health Worker, driver and panel manager.

North Star Health (formerly Springfield Medical Care Systems) is a newly independent, not-for-profit Federally Qualified Health Center proudly serving diverse communities in southern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire. North Star Health provides high-quality, patient-centered medical, behavioral health, dental and vision care to people of all ages regardless of insurance status or ability to pay; financial assistance is available to those who qualify.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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